Oklahoma Baseball is back in Norman! The Sooners will play a combined five games this weekend as they host Notre Dame and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the Sooner Baseball Classic.
After missing the postseason for the first time since 2007, the Sooners are looking to bounce back from their 29-29 record last season. Starting his second year at the helm, Oklahoma skipper Pete Hughes has seven starters back from 2014. Highlighting the offense are junior Craig Aikin who hit .326, with 47 runs scored last season, and Sheldon Neuse who was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year for 2014.
|Weekend Pitching Rotation|
|Friday vs. ND||
RHP-Jake Elliott, So.
|RHP-Scott Kerrigan, Sr.
3-1, 1.87, 31 Ks
|Saturday vs. SIUE||RHP-Corey Copping, Jr.
2-2, 3.53, 35 Ks
|RHP-Jarrett Bednar, Jr.
1-6, 6.71, 35 Ks
|Saturday vs. ND||RHP-Alec Hansen, So.
0-1, 4.76, 16 Ks
|RHP-Brandon Bielak, Fr.
|Sunday vs. ND||LHP-Adam Choplick, RJr.
3-4, 5.35, 76 Ks
|RHP-Nick McCarty, Jr.
2-7, 4.47, 36 Ks
|Sunday vs. SIUE||TBA||RHP-Alex Padilla, Fr.|
Sophomore Jake Elliott will end a streak of lefties taking the mound on opening day that dates back to 2011. The 6-7/210 Texas native had a 3.56 ERA last season and certainly faced his share of struggles. To find success in 2015 Pete Hughes is trusting the mound to a handful of hurlers that are now seasoned but must show drastic improvement. That's also the story for the infield which was error prone in 2014 and the improvement of both the pitching staff and the defense of infield go hand-in-hand when it comes to marked improvement in 2015.
Scouting The Field
Notre Dame was solid from the mound but struggled to produce runs on their way to a 22-31 record last season. The Irish posted a team ERA of 3.05 but a batting average of just .245 on the year. The Sooners will face Scott Kerrigan on Friday. Kerrigan posted a 1.87 ERA and 3-1 record last season and will be given the ball on opening day. From the plate, Oklahoma's hurlers will have to deal with Blair Lezynski who led the team last year with a .296 average and 32 RBI.
The Sooners haven't faced the Irish since a 6-5 eleven-inning loss in 2013. Oklahoma is 2-1 all time against Notre Dame in baseball.
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars
SIUE went 21-33 last season and were paced by Denton Reed and Nick Lombardo who hit .344 and .321 respectively. This will be the first meeting between the Sooners and Cougars.